APEX — With rain forecast for Friday night, Green Hope coach Kwame Dixon decided early in the week that the Falcons’ usually pass-happy offense was going to rely on the ground game against Apex.
Demetrice Massenburg was more than ready for the extra workload. The Green Hope running back rushed for 238 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries to lead the Falcons to a 28-7 win over the Cougars.
“Coach told me on the bus ride here it was going to be my kind of game,” Massenburg said. “Just run the ball all day long. I was just focused on getting down hill. Once I saw the hole, just hit it and not stop moving my feet.”
Massenburg was the bright spot in an otherwise ugly affair that featured 12 fumbles (including four lost), three interceptions, and a blocked punt. Massenburg accounted for nearly every yard of the Falcons’ offense. The other five players to carry the ball compiled just 1 yard on 11 carries, and their passing game, which averages nearly 265 yards per game, threw for just 22 on Friday.
“Demetrice had a tremendous night, and the offensive line had a tremendous night,” Dixon said. “I told them before the game that I was banking on them. This was their night.”
The Falcons’ was also stout, forcing four turnovers and holding Apex to just 180 yards of offense.
Green Hope capitalized on Massenburg’s blocked punt early in the first quarter that gave them the ball at the Apex 24. Massenburg broke off a 20-yard run before being hauled down just short of the end zone. Quarterback Luke Massei dove into the end zone from 2 yards for the game’s first TD. Matt Duckworth turned a botched extra point into a two-point conversion after scooping up the failed hold and tossing the ball to John Nassif for an 8-0 lead.
The Cougars responded on the ensuing series when Isaiah Totten scored on a 3-yard run, but Apex wouldn’t get any closer the rest of the night.
With 15 seconds remaining before halftime, Massei connected with Bryce Dixon for a 15-yard TD pass and a 15-7 intermission lead.
In the second half, Massenburg had touchdown runs of 36 and 52 yards.
The win snapped the Faclons’ three-game losing streak and sets up a showdown with Panther Creek in the regular-season finale that the Falcons must win if they expect to qualify for the playoffs.
“They undertand that,” Dixon said. “Now we’re playing for something. It doesn’t matter what we do tonight if we don’t take care of business next week.”